1998 Chicago TI Faire

Story and photo's by Gary W. Cox

The 1998 Chicago TI Faire was held a little later this year on November 14th.   No one would have ever suspected what occured this year!    More than 500 people attended the event, faire organizers were not sure how many attended as they ran out of tickets as only 500 were on a role!   The event started at the Church and when vendor after vendor arrived as well as attendees it was clear the space they had was not going to surfice!   The event was extended into the main meeting hall of the Church which still was packed with vendors and attendee's.    It was decided at the last minute to extend the faire into a second day and event organizers were able to secure a huge meeting hall at the Omni Orrington Hotel for the second day where everything was moved too...  

Ok well what you just read is not true but hopfully it caught your attention!   The event was actually held in the basement of a Church this year.  The weather was great, this was the first time I've seen the weather so good for the Chicago TI Faire!   Attendance to the Faire was fair and I think just about everyone knew each other.   We had plenty of room and tables and admission to the event was free!

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The TI Faire was held in the basement of this Church.

Barry Harmsen from Holland kicked off the event with a demonstration of a disk he was giving out.   Among the programs on the disk was DM 2000, a disk manager which works with the TI or Geneve including those with a  SCSI card.   Also included was a sector editor for SCSI.   A copy of Copy-C was available which now works with RAM Disks.   Other items include a game or two, a GIF viewer, hardware test utilities and a few other items...   The disk was FREE to all faire go'ers.

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Barry Harmsen demonstrating the free disk.

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European version of SCSI card hooked to a ZIP drive.

The next demonstration was by Bruce Harrison where he demonstrated a newly released BINGO program!

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Bruce Harrison

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Members of the audience played Bingo and the winner won a copy of the program!

Bruce also demonstrated a new version of Midi-Master version 2.5.    Bruce brought along his keyboard and we had someone from the Church play a little tune which he saved and played back on the keyboard through Midi- Master. 

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Bruce Harrison's MIDI keyboard setup.

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Lew King, Barry Harmsen, Bud Mills

Much of the day was spent playing around with programs and equipment.

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Several tables had a variety of equipment and parts for sale.

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One of the most impressive demonstrations at the event was that of Mike Wright of CADD Electronics!   According to Mike Wright, PC99 (TI Emulator for PC's) is now headed in a new direction.  Instead of pursuing the DOS version of the program as is the current release, the new direction is toward a Windows based version of the program.   While the Windows 95/98 version is not released Mike demonstrated how the new version will operate with a beta version that he is working on!

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Mike Wright - CADD Electronics

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Multiple Windows can be open at a time running PC99, shown on the right is Parsec running on Mike's laptop!

The Windows version of PC99 includes pull down menu's for cartridge selections and the ability to open as many TI emulation windows as desired limited only by your computer's limitations!   Mike went on to say that CADD Electronics is not making any promises to when or if this new version will be released but this is the new directions that they are now headed.

The product is truely impressive!

For those wanting to access the internet using the TI99/4a, Lew King demonstrated how it was possible using Term 80 on a TI99/4a! 

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Lew King demonstrating the TI99/4a on the Internet.

The demonstration of Lew was impressive, while the TI99/4a can only browse the internet using a text only interface (no graphics) we can actually browse text much faster than PC's since the additon of graphics is not slowing down the transmission.   Lew also demostraded downloading programs off the Internet using the TI99/4a.   This is all made possible by having a "Unix Shell" account with an internet provider.  While large providers like AOL do not provide this text only access many local providers will provide this type of access.   The access is just as simple as loading up your terminal program (80 column preferred) and dialing in and loging into a system.   Then by knowing a few Unix commands you can browse the internet, send and receive email and download programs!

However, this would not be a TI faire if we did not have any technical problems!   The phone system, as we discovered, was digital and of course, a modem is analog.  Thus we did a little improvising by running a telephone cord from a fax machine on a second story window down the side of the building to the window of our meeting room.  

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Hal's son strings the phone cable along the outside of the building to our meeting room!

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Bud Mills - Bud Mills Services

Bud Mills once again was at the faire as he is every year!   As is often the case, he had a unique article of clothing shown above in the picture.    It's a tie which presents a computer printout!   While Bud did not have anything new he said that he continues to provide support for all his products including the famous Horizon Ram Disks!

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Charles Good and Bud Mills


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Year 2000 bugs caught in a box? Dan Eicher was selling these for $1 a piece!

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Hal Shanafield (standing to the left)

My thanks to Hal Shanafield for the time and effort in putting this event together!   After the faire and after we went out to eat many of us converged over at Hal's house for additional computing time.

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The gang at Hal's house.

Many other people known in the TI community was present including Jeff White, Dan Eicher, Barry Harmsen, Charles Good, Mike Wright, Bud Mills, John Koloen, Hal Shanafield, Dave Connery, Bruce Harrison, Lew King just to name a few.

The TI Faires are always a good place to once again see those who are still active in the TI community.  I only wish more people and vendors would make an effort to attend a faire!  Still the faires are fun and informative.  I've also started a list of TI'ers email addresses which you will see listed elsewhere on the TI section of my WEB page so we can all keep up with each other!  However, we were all disappointed to see the famous Amoral Owasis Motel being torn down this year, just ask anyone who stayed at the Amoral Owasis back in 1997 for some interesting stories!!!!

Thanks again Hal and to the Chicago TI Users Group for this years event.  

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